I get up at 5am and run 15K with a heavy pack on my back. JUST KIDDING. Why would I get up at 5am? I’m an author, which means I am allowed to loll around in bed all day in my pyjamas. But I don’t, because apart from the fact writing in bed gives you horrible backache after a while (I might have tried it at one time), I’m also more productive in my office with all my writing props around me.
When my sons were home the mornings used to be a mad rush, but now both of them are away at university things are a lot calmer and I have more in control over my day. I usually get up around 7, and drink a cup of tea while I answer any emails that have appeared in my inbox overnight (sometimes my US publisher emails me while I’m sleeping!). I do a quick check of my social media and answer any messages from readers. I’m lucky enough to have a friendly and communicative following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and connecting with them is important to me. I’ll answer their questions, respond to comments and sometimes I ask for their help. Lately I’ve needed to name numerous dogs and were it not for the suggestions of all my readers on Facebook they all would have been called Rover. I love photography, so Instagram is a favourite of mine.
I’m at my desk and writing by eight. When the kids were young I didn’t have my own office space and wrote wherever and whenever I was able. I wrote at the school gate, scribbled while watching rugby matches and once wrote on the back of a ticket on a trip to the movies because it was the only piece of paper I could find (couldn’t read it afterwards). A few years ago we built an office at the bottom of the garden and that’s where I work now. It’s a beautiful space and I love it. In the winter months it’s cosy and warm, and in the summer I work with the doors and windows open and bees and squirrels for company. It’s good to be able to spread out my work and know it will stay there until the book is finished. There’s something about the peace and quiet that is conducive to concentration. And there is no internet, which helps. What most people don’t realize is that the job of being a writer involves more than just writing the story. On an average day I might also be discussing cover options with my publishers (I love that part!), marketing plans, ideas for future books. I might be doing radio interviews or sometimes a Facebook ‘live’ (which definitely requires you NOT to be in bed in your pyjamas).
I am always working towards a deadline so I try and write a certain number of words every week so that I keep myself on track. Also, I read. Reading is SO important for a writer. That’s what I tell myself when I kick off my shoes and read a book for half an hour during my working day. It relaxes me and I find it essential for creativity.
I spend a lot of time sitting indoors in my job (although sometimes I stand when I write), so at some point in every day I do make sure I go outside and exercise. My favourite thing is to go on my mountain bike. If I’m short on time, I’ll just go for a walk.
I love cooking, but if I'm really deep in a book or close to a deadline my husband will do more of the cooking. I write most days because I’ve discovered that works best for me. If I take time away from the book it takes me longer to get back into the story again.
I love my job. I know how lucky I am to spend each day doing something I love.